The most academically elite team in college basketball, in quest for their first conference win in 21 years


Quantum Hoops is a new documentary which follows the college basketball program at the California Institute of Technology through its 2007–2008 season. The school is regularly honored as one of the finest academic colleges in the United States. Their basketball team, on the other hand, is not as well-honored. It has won two conference games in the last 35 years. Their last victory was 240 games ago.

The elite college basketball teams dream of winning the NCAA tournament, or at least winning their conference championship. Lesser teams dream of posting a winning record. These guys just want to win a game. Just one game.

Only a Game reviews the film and interviews the filmmaker. I love the soaring soundtrack as former players recount one of their two "recent" victories, breaking a 99-game losing streak. That happened in 1979. "We won a game. A real game."

The film has a limited run in selected cities. In Seattle, it plays at the Metro Cinemas March 28 through April 4. Don't spoil it for me.

Comments (14)
  1. John says:

    SPOILER ALERT:

    Spoiler deleted

    [Thank you, John, for spoiling the movie I explicitly asked you not to spoil. I bet your mom is proud of you. -Raymond]
  2. kaellinn18 says:

    Ugh, now <i>I</i> just lost the game. I was doing so well too.

  3. bmm6o says:

    I was on a team in the grad school league there.  We weren’t very good, but we liked to play.  Some of the guys from the undergrad team got together and entered our league.  We had heard about how long it had been since they won a game, and expected them to be pushovers.  I don’t remember the score, but I don’t recall it being close; they beat us handily.  They were actually pretty good players – much better than we expected.

  4. George Jansen says:

    The SCIAC doesn’t appear to be up there with the PAC 10. But I do like the wrought-up poet on the Whittier College logo–not at all how I think of the author of "When the Frost is on the Pumpkin"–and sex-specific team names of a couple of the schools.

  5. George Jansen says:

    Oops. Mixed up John Greenleaf Whittier with James Whitcomb Riley….

  6. MS says:

    "[Thank you, John, for spoiling the movie I explicitly asked you not to spoil. I bet your mom is proud of you. -Raymond]"

    With the first comment no less.  Usually it takes several comments for the jerks to show up…

  7. Nobody Important says:

    I’m looking forward to Quantum Hoops, if only to see the gymn again.  I played a lot of basketball in there, and recall at least one of the film’s characters.

    One of my heroes from those days won the Abel Prize yesterday, so I’m having a double dose of nostalgia.

  8. John says:

    Come on people, I was kidding!  I’ve never heard of this movie, much less seen it.  Get a sense of humor.

    [And how was anybody to know that you were kidding as opposed to “I went to the NCAA Web site and looked up their final standings and deduced whether they won a game or not.” -Raymond]
  9. egcarter says:

    I played in the Interhouse leagues and the Grad League as an undergrad during the 70’s.  We used to win more league games in those days.  Why, we even went 3-3 in football in the ’73 – ’74 season.   Three bonfires in one year!  I guess they need more games against Life College…

  10. Pants says:

    http://episteme.arstechnica.com/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/48409524/m/431005921931?r=254008331931#254008331931

    Here is an intresting discussion about the crapness of Win32 and Dot net, I have to say, looking at the arguments i have to agree that somewhere in the near future you will have to clean up shop. Otherwise it will all fall down.

    [Wow, that was an exciting basketball game. -Raymond]
  11. silky says:

    It would be nice if you could disable comments on certain posts.

  12. anon says:

    I played on the team in the mid 90’s and we couldn’t even beat the Alumni teams back then…

    I never could confirm this, but at the time, the coach was Gene Victor, who according to the rumor mill was one of the winningest Coaches in the NCAA before coming to Tech. Apparently he had to leave his previous job because the stress was too much and he had a bad heart. I don’t know if never winning was more or less stressful than his previous coaching positions though.

    Regarding the Caltech football teams: http://www.bookstore.caltech.edu/CALTECH/shop_product_detail.asp?mscssid=28KAPND5WQWE8H3DMS7590XRJP1ECE3A&catalog_group_id=MzNcXCAzOQ&catalog_group_name=R2lmdHMgJiBNZXJjaGFuZGlzZVxcIENsb3RoaW5n&catalog_id=235&catalog_name=Q2FsdGVjaCBUZWVz&pf_id=9HU8P9GRP3FM0134CMN1&product_name=QmVhdmVyICBVbmRlZmVhdGVkIEZvb3RiYWxsIFQgU2hpcnQ&type=1&target=shop_product_list.asp

    A bit of Caltech football trivia: Caltech has played more games at the Rose Bowl than any other team — it was their stadium in the WW2 era.

  13. mike says:

    If anyone WANTS to know their 2007-08 record, it can be found here

    http://prwolfe.bol.ucla.edu/cbasketball/ratings.htm

    The worst ranked schools are all called things like ‘Calvary Bible’ (it seems you can win a game and finish above teams that lost them all)

  14. Nobody Important says:

    I saw Quantum Hoops tonight, and recognized a lot more people than I expected.

    Good fun, I think.

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